The Life of Bessie Rice


Bessie McCray Rice

Mrs. Bessie McCray Rice, 97, went home to be with the Lord on July 27th, 2013.

She was born on August 23rd, 1915 in Quincy, Florida to the late Wesley McCray and Florean Kennedy McCray. She was married to Ulysses Grant Rice, who preceded her in death in 1962.

Bessie was devoted to her family and often spoke of the fond memories of growing up in Alabama with her beloved grandmother, the late Mrs. Lydia "Pinky" Kennedy.

Bessie was a resident of Akron for over 70 years. She accepted Christ at an early age and later became a member of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in 1935, faithfully serving for 78 years. She was also an active member of the Mother''s Board.

Family came first to Bessie, raising five successful daughters. The Idle Hour Club recognized her efforts in 1973, when they presented her with the Mother of The Year Award.

Bessie had many interests and loved cooking and baking from scratch. She also enjoyed crocheting, knitting, sewing, quilting, and many volunteer activities. One of her most beloved hobbies was gardening, for which she won many Akron beautification awards. During the winter months, her family enjoyed the fruits and vegetables she preserved from her garden.

Bessie retired from Akron City Hospital, dedicating over 20 years of service.

She was preceded in death by many relatives, among them include her sister, Elease McCray Austin; grandson, Steven Shepherd; sons-in-law, James C. Ely, Jr. and Dr. Robert Deitchman. She is survived by her beloved daughters, Evelyn (Lloyd) Shepherd of Madison, New Jersey, Josephine Rice Deitchman, Beverly Ely, and Janet Lynn Rice, MD., of Akron, Sandra (Melvin) Richardson of Austell, Georgia; and her niece, Florean Austin of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Also surviving are her grandchildren whom she treasured, James Clifton Ely, III and Lauren Ely of Akron, David, Amanda, Allison and Adam Richardson of Austell, Georgia.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 3, 2013, at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1214 Grant St., Akron, OH 44301, Rev. Curtis Minter eulogizing. Interment at Mt. Peace Cemetery. Friends may visit at the church from 10 a.m. until time of service. Condolences may be sent to Stewart & Calhoun Funeral Home.


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